I've performed electrical measurements on nearly all of my Telecaster pickups, only omitting the more obscure pickups, such as ceramic cheapos and those whose origins I'm unsure of. There's so much info here that I should be putting it in a blog, but after looking into my options, I've decided I want to make this info available ASAP and worry about a more permanent place to put it later. Here's a list of the pickups tested below: Fender Original Vintage Telecaster Set Fender Nocaster Telecaster Pickup Set Fender Blackguard Telecaster Set Fender Pure Vintage '58 Telecaster Pickup Set Fender Pure Vintage '64 Telecaster Pickup Set Fender Texas Specials for Tele Set Fender Twisted Tele Set Bill Lawrence Keystones Telecaster Set DiMarzio Twang King Pickup Set Joe Barden Gatton T-Style Pickup Set Seymour Duncan Antiquity Telecaster Pickup Set Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound for Tele Set Some observations about Telecaster pickups... The cover material on the Tele neck has a huge effect on its high end response The bode plot below shows a drop in Q factor associated with a) no cover, b) Nickel Silver covers, and c) brass covers. The lower the curve, the lower the treble response. The worst is obviously brass. Of the tested pickups, it only appears that Seymour Duncan uses the cruddy brass covers, for if you look at the resonant peaks of the Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound for Tele and Antiquity Tele pickups down in the measurement section, where you expect to see a nice resonant bump, you instead see an abrupt drop off at the resonant frequency. All of Fenders pickups use Nickel Silver and have a characeristic hump at the resonance, as apparently does the DiMarzio Twang King. All of the Fender "Made in Japan" Tele pickups I've tested also feature the lossy brass covers. I'm still waiting to get my hands on a Fender Mexico example. The Bardens and Lawrence Keystones have no cover, so their Q losses are caused solely by their core metals. Speaking of Q factor, I've found that AlNiCo 3 reduces the Q factor somewhat more than AlNiCo 5, perhaps contributing to a slightly softer high end with the AlNiCo 3, on top of the lower flux density, and less resultant lower output voltage. The base plate on the Tele bridge doesn't Here's a NoCaster Tele bridge out of a MIM Triple Tele. The measured inductance with the base plate is 3.592 Henries, and when the base plate is removed, the inductance drop to only 3.391H, a difference of only 201 millihenries. The graph below shows the resonant peak only dropping about 300Hz, with a slight drop in Q due to eddy current losses caused be the base plate. I wouldn't say the base plate is critical to this pickup's tone, based on these figures. The base plate is also permeable, so it increases the magnetism of the pole pieces slightly. I measured the low E pole piece increase from 600 Gauss to 620 Gauss with the base plate added, with comes out to a 3% increase, which means nothing to the tone. It takes a substantially larger increase in flux density in order to get an audible effect. For example, the difference between AlNiCo 3 and AlNiCo 5 is 600G versus 1100G at the pole tops. That's a difference that matters. It's true that this NoCaster bridge from the Triple Tele differs a from the one in the measureents below by 300mH, which is a rather large deviation for a given pickup model. That's Fender for you. There's a remarkably high capacitance on the neck pickups. Up to this point, I've only tested Strat pickups and a few PAF clones. I've typically calculated parasitic capacitance to be between 70pF and 140pF, but with these Tele neck pickups I'm seeing capacitance from 200pF to 300pF. The result is that these pickups have a much lower resonant peak than Strat pickups of similar inductance (because the resonant peak is lower when any combination of the inductance or the capacitance is higher). My best guess as to the cause is that these coils seems to be wound MUCH tighter than Strat pickups. Here is a Texas Special neck compared to a NoCaster neck pickup with the cover removed. The Texas Special's overall coil width is 0.4890", and the pole pieces are 0.1875", so the coil accounts for 0.3015" of the overall coil width. The NoCaster's overall width is only 0.3737" with pole pieces that are 0.1885", so the coil's contribution is "0.1852, so the Texas Special's coil is nearly 40% thicker at the waist. The NoCaster's coil is 14% taller, and is making use of 43 AWG to the Texas Specials' 42AWG. 43 AWG is 12%, but combining the taller coil and the finer wire still suggests that the NoCaster's 43 AWG is wound more tightly in order to result in a coil that is only 60% as thick. When a coil is wound more tightly, the conductive wire will be closer together, resulting in higher parasitic winding capacitance, and so this is where I choose to place the blame. The 43 AWG wire should actually result in less capacitance, all other things being equal, since 43 AWG has about 13% less surface area than 42 AWG. The cover also represents added capacitance, but because there is a healthy amount of space between the coil and the cover, I calculated that the Fender Nickel Silver covers add no more than 7pF capacitance, which is a drop in the bucket. I calculated the capacitance with and without the cover, and it clearly had nothing to do with the high capacitance, and when you remove the cover of a Tele neck pickup, the only thing setting it apart from a Strat pickup is wire gauge and coil geometry. This high capacitance appears to put the loaded resonant peak in the area of 3.5 to 3.8kHz, which is "hot" by Strat standards, which, with their lower capacitance, have loaded peaks closer to 4kHz. This, along with the lack of a lossy metalic pickup cover, make a case as to why Stratocaster neck pickups are generally preferred over Tele neck pickups.